Gift, Forcibly Lent
Bit of fan-fic. Gave it a miss in my teens, but there’s no time like the present. Top-marks to whomever can guess the identity of protagonist!
Gift, Forcibly Lent
“One crack two crack three crack four,
five cracks and there’ll be no more!”
The crone warbled as she shuffled about the cluttered garret, nimbly weaving her way through the assorted refuse littering the space. Over-turned oil lamp, filled only with clotted residue. Stack of half-way tanned leather, best not to examine too closely. A hoe of antique design, propped against mouldering wainscot and jarringly out of place.
The ancient finished her circuit and came again to the prone figure beneath the sole window, who, chilled once more by the cruel shadow, shuddered a whimper.
“Ah, duck, don’t cower so,” the beldam cooed, drawing a long, yellowed nail across the soft flesh. “Soon it will be over, and you’ll regret having made such a fuss!”
The girl only answered with another sob, trying against her restraints to get away from the talon’s rasp. Bad as the sharp scratch felt, it was at least a point she could concentrate on, a star of pain within the shrouding mist of her thoughts, muddled by whatever foul concoction had been forced upon her…what seemed like hours ago. The following embrace of the parchment-skinned hand, cupping the girl’s bare stomach, sent tendrils of repugnance through her drug-addled mind. The dry yet clammy embrace cut through her befuddlement, and the horror of the situation was brought home to her.
She could just make out a gibbous moon through the window, riding high above her in a sky of blue velvet, as she tugged wildly at the head strap. To her left, a shapeless mass of dark hair, gaunt hands grasping a winch. Directly in front of her, the object of her misery – the witch of legend, the terror of the all the Dark Barony. Blood-shot eyes with xanthous iris’ starting from her face, hair so much straw, pulled back with in a rough twist, teeth crooked and gapped. Her chest, visible as her virdigris gown rippled with the manikin movements, slim as a pre-pubescent boy, thinner, sunken in amongst the ribs and cartilage.
“Yes, soon it will be over,” the fiend sighed, her breath redolent of grave earth. A sharp glance towards the heap of impossibility in the corner, and another twist of the chuck. The apparatus the girl was fastened to heaved, pulling fearsomely at her bound extremities, till, at last in her agony, she heard a pop as her body rearranged itself to the strain.
“Ooo hoo hoo hoo!” the hag giggled, clapping her hands and jerking about in delight. “Hear the pop, hear the crik craketty crack!”
“Crack, you say?” A far-away light seemed to awaken in the crone’s eyes. “If not a crack, then, then maybe…a shatter?”
Rictus horror imprinted itself on her whipcord visage, and she pulled at her hair, and she ran about the room, shrieking.
“It was just a chime, a little chime! How was I to know? How was I to know!? I’m sorry! I’m so-so-sorry!” she cried as she ran, ample tears sluiced the pre-graven lines of her face. Without any outward warning, she stopped of a sudden, hunkered down and pulled her bony knees towards her chest.
“Alone, all alone now. Alone forever and a day. Alone forever more,” she whispered pitifully as she rocked back and forth.
“All alone here in my Spire of dead rock.”
Despite the terror of the situation, despite the raw agony she was feeling in every inch of her body, the young maid was moved to something like pity at the sight of this creature, obviously insane and yet possessed of an acute pathos. In the swirl of her foggy mind, she wanted to make some sign of commiseration, some effort to lessen the sadness on display before her.
She murmured what she hoped was a comforting sound, difficult, given her secured jaw.
The sound seemed to lance through the other woman, who immediately stopped her rocking, and, for a time, simply stared into the middle distance.
As she drew herself up, she said
“Ah, but then, my beautiful Grandson, he came and he opened the tower. He came and he showed me how much fun there was to be had in this new and blear homeland of ours!”
A quick twist of the neck, and the tawny eyes were boring holes into the girl’s nude body.
“Isn’t that right, duck? Such fun!”
Before the thrill of terror she felt could more than but blossom, the girl saw the withered head jerk once more to the side, and, following another pop, everything went dark.
The furred thrull, not much more than ball of hair, scurried about cleaning. Cleaning gore off lewd machinery. The crone, gem-encrusted goblet in hand, flexed her skin, reveling in the restored suppleness of it, the vitality she could feel coursing through her. Time to spread a bit of fun!